My kids are 16 and 13—they’re definitely approaching the time where they’re old enough to go trick or treating alone.
Cue the parental panic attack: Halloween is spooky enough. Do I really want to spend my evening worrying about their whereabouts or whether or not they’re sticking to the neighborhood map we laid out for them to follow with their friends? (Come on, we were kids once, too. When candy is the goal— and friends are involved— all bets are off.)
Deep breaths. I found the perfect app that saves you the pressure of Halloween helicopter parenting (aka trailing them in a car with your headlights off just to keep tabs). It’s called Life360 and it’s the leading family location app, designed to help you keep track of your kids and—more importantly—give them the space and trust they deserve not just on Halloween, but year-round. I use it every day to keep an eye on my kids, and get alerts when they arrive at school, and at home. Major peace of mind.
Still, we’ve got trick-or-treating on the brain. Here are my favorite Halloween-focused features that you can set up immediately to maximize safety tomorrow night. This is not a sponsored post! I just can’t tell you how many times I’ve shared this app with moms and they’ve flipped out— it’s useful during Halloween and beyond.
Map Out a Trick or Treat Zone
Sit down and do this as a family. (Hey, it’s good to verbalize the geographic area your kids are limited to while out on their own, not just digitize it.) Using Life360, you can set up a “safe zone” in your neighborhood, so you’ll automatically get alerts if kids wander outside it.
To set this up, simply open up the app and under places, tap “add.” Name the location “Trick or Treat Zone,” then enter an address or adjust the map to capture the radius where your kids are allowed.
Set Up a “Kids-Only” Group Chat
Halloween problems: Trying to separate one Elsa costume from the next. If your kids and their friends get separated from each other while running from house to house scoring candy, this Life360 feature makes it a breeze to reconnect.
All they have to do is set up a “Circle” before they head out for the night. They can name it something funny (like Halloween…Muahaha), then click “Invite New Members” to send the pals they’re going trick or treating with an invite code. Each friend they invite will receive instructions for how to join the group, then once they’re in, they can follow each other and message each other privately throughout the night. (Safety in numbers, right?)
Create a “Circle” for the Parents, Too
You’re all in this together, right? Just like with the kids, it helps to have the contact info—and instant group chatting ability—with the parents of everyone your kids are out with that night.
Maybe you just want to alert everyone that the kids just showed up at your place to count their candy, safe and sound. Or maybe you’re having Halloween jitters and want a bit of moral support. Either way, it’s nice to be able to ping each other if you need to and access everyone at once. (Keep in mind: The setup is the same as what you just did for your kids.)
Keep Tabs on Battery Levels
Last, but not least, you’ve been so busy putting the finishing touches on your kids costumes that you failed to notice that they never charged their phones. (Ugh, kind of defeats the purpose of using the Life360 app, right?) But this part is awesome: When your kids privately share their location with you, they also share their battery levels. This means that in one fell swoop, you can glance and see which kid has 4% left and which one is fully charged.
OK, what if they’re already out and you notice their battery level is running low? It never hurts to arm one kid with a portable charger. (Hey, they can all share!)